Randomized controlled trial of postoperative belladonna and opium rectal suppositories in vaginal surgery

Kristina Butler, John Yi, Megan Wasson, Jennifer Klauschie, Debra Ryan, Joseph Hentz, Jeffrey Cornella, Paul Magtibay, Roseanne Kho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background After vaginal surgery, oral and parenteral narcotics are used commonly for pain relief, and their use may exacerbate the incidence of sedation, nausea, and vomiting, which ultimately delays convalescence. Previous studies have demonstrated that rectal analgesia after surgery results in lower pain scores and less intravenous morphine consumption. Belladonna and opium rectal suppositories may be used to relieve pain and minimize side effects; however, their efficacy has not been confirmed. Objective We aimed to evaluate the use of belladonna and opium suppositories for pain reduction in vaginal surgery. Materials and Methods A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that used belladonna and opium suppositories after inpatient or outpatient vaginal surgery was conducted. Vaginal surgery was defined as (1) vaginal hysterectomy with uterosacral ligament suspension or (2) posthysterectomy prolapse repair that included uterosacral ligament suspension and/or colporrhaphy. Belladonna and opium 16A (16.2/60 mg) or placebo suppositories were administered rectally immediately after surgery and every 8 hours for a total of 3 doses. Patient-reported pain data were collected with the use of a visual analog scale (at 2, 4, 12, and 20 hours postoperatively. Opiate use was measured and converted into parenteral morphine equivalents. The primary outcome was pain, and secondary outcomes included pain medication, antiemetic medication, and a quality of recovery questionnaire. Adverse effects were surveyed at 24 hours and 7 days. Concomitant procedures for urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse did not preclude enrollment. Results Ninety women were randomly assigned consecutively at a single institution under the care of a fellowship-trained surgeon group. Demographics did not differ among the groups with mean age of 55 years, procedure time of 97 minutes, and prolapse at 51%. Postoperative pain scores were equivalent among both groups at each time interval. The belladonna and opium group used a mean of 57 mg morphine compared with 66 mg for placebo (P=.43) in 24 hours. Patient satisfaction with recovery was similar (P=.59). Antiemetic and ketorolac use were comparable among groups. Subgroup analyses of patients with prolapse and patients <50 years old did not reveal differences in pain scores. The use of belladonna and opium suppositories was uncomplicated, and adverse effects, which included constipation and urinary retention, were similar among groups. Conclusion Belladonna and opium suppositories are safe for use after vaginal surgery. Belladonna and opium suppositories did not reveal lower pain or substantially lower narcotic use. Further investigation may be warranted to identify a population that may benefit optimally from belladonna and opium use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491.e1-491.e6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • belladonna
  • opium
  • suppository

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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